It’s sort of like this:
Teel wants to kiss.
Someone suggests that in an alternate version of reality, but never in this one, they might kiss him.
Teel builds a device to travel to alternate realities via a system of energy portals and then goes through a series of life-threatening challenges created by an order of transdimensional monks who promise him access to this fabled alternate reality only to turn on him at the last moment, taking the Sapphire Egg of Budecki and the Eternal Flame of Fortunato that he had retrieves at great risk with them and leaving him only with false but convincingly realistic memories of being kissed.
Teel plays these memories over and over again in his head until, some time that night, they burn out.
Teel believes that that is the end of that.
Two months, four weeks and three days later, Teel learns that the monks had not turned on him; they gave him what he had asked them for, but at a greater cost than he had anticipated – he was to remain in the alternate reality he had fought so hard for a mere glimpse of, and now the reality he’d thought he’d never left was no longer reality at all.